The EU Commission has confirmed to the IFA that Ireland’s Rural Development Programme (RDP) will be ratified next Tuesday, May 26, along with 23 other plans.

IFA Rural Development Chairman, Flor McCarthy said the critical issue for IFA now is to ensure that all other outstanding schemes are opened, including TAMS and the Knowledge Transfer Measures.

“Rural Development Schemes such as GLAS, ANCS and TAMS for Young Farmers are already in motion.

“The importance of the Rural Development Programme being implemented effectively is now the clear agenda that IFA will spell out to Government. This involves significant allocations in next year’s Book of Estimates, which will be decided over the next number of months in the context of Budget 2016.”

McCarthy welcomes the fact that Brussels will formally approve the RDP next week.

“But it’s all a bit late in the day. Ireland’s plan should have been among the first 27 agreed by the European Commission. And the fact that it wasn’t goes back to the delays created by Department of Agriculture staff in getting the proposed programme of action over to Brussels last summer.

“But we are where we are and we have no option but to get on with the task in hand.”

McCarthy said that the IFA will be asking Minister Coveney to open up the TAMS scheme for young farmers immediately.

“The current plan is to open the scheme for applications in August. This makes no sense at all as it will be winter time before these farmers get approval,” he said.

“The envisaged work must be carried out this summer. This will be good news for the farmers concerned plus the farm supply and construction sectors throughout rural Ireland. Further delays in implementing the new RDP will serve no useful purpose whatsoever.”